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CES 2015: D’Agostino brings new MLife and Cinema Standards

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ces-logoThere are a lot of things you can say about audio’s high-end. But every now and again, you’re faced with a product that is so awesome-looking that you can’t help but look at the price tag and say, “Oh. Yeah, I can understand that.” For me, D’Agostino is that brand.

Now, I have to be honest — it’s not like I see those price tags and scream, “Shut up and take my money!” I think I might have mentioned the neglect I’ve been getting from the Lotto Fairy at some point, so no need to rake over old insults. But there are more than a few components out there in hi-fi that do leave me scratching my head as to what possible calculus allowed them to arrive at their MSRP.

D’Agostino, it appears, has chosen to make all that pretty obvious — their flagship products are so unbelievably pretty that my first reaction is “Yeah, I can’t afford that,” followed quickly by “But my-oh-my, ain’t that something.” And if a steampunk chic isn’t really your thing, well, you’re wrong. The Momentum line, with their green and softly-glowing clockwork dials, highly machined casework and copper accents, are amazeballs.

Anyway, the new MLife integrated amplifier ($48k, shipping in April) features a 24bit/192kHz DAC with built-in UPnP-compliant streaming capabilities and support for AirPlay, aptX Bluetooth. It also comes with a native TIDAL HiFi client, with support for Deezer, Spotify and Sirius XM yet to come. The MLife has “the same amp circuits as the Momentum integrated, but replaces the tone controls with a 5″ color LCD display.” There’s also an app, for both IOS and Android, which also allows for vTuner Internet radio streaming.

Not shown here (not sure what happened to those photos) was the new Cinema Standard multi-channel amplifier. Interestingly, the new line of amps are meant to be rack mounted — that is, not necessarily placed on the floor, front-and-center, but rather squirreled away somewhere not readily seen. Stripping away the incredible shell and replacing it with something a bit more pedestrian allows the price to come down to $12.9k for the 2-channel version and $15.9k for the 3-channel version. These new amps come with RS-232 inputs for custom-installation setups and will come with customizable high- and low-pass filters for tuning to your multi-channel rig. The specs put the output on the Cinema Standard at 250 watts into 8Ω, doubling down into 4Ω and doubling again into 2Ω. For those not interested in the home-theater features, a “bare” version of the Cinema Standard stereo amplifier will also be available for $12k.

General availability is “a few months”.

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About Scot Hull (975 Articles)
Founder, Editor and Publisher at Part-Time Audiophile and The Occasional Magazine.

2 Comments on CES 2015: D’Agostino brings new MLife and Cinema Standards

  1. I see what you’re saying, but there is also lot to be said for adhering to the general principle of “form follows function”. Is this product doing that?

    I am just imagining having such a thing in my house. I think that the image of myself I would rather project to visitors would be Quad 306/34…

    • I think there’s an argument to be made that your really expensive gear really ought to look like it’s really expensive gear. The problem is that the cost of the gear then is tied to both form and function — I think this is precisely where we go off the deep end, if you ask me. The case of a $5.000 speaker that now costs $50,000 because of it’s paint job would be an outright absurdity. I think a lot of gear tends to bear some resemblance to this problem — especially when aesthetics become so prominent.

      As for me, I’d pay a premium on aesthetics. But given the choice between “attractive” at 1.5x and “amazeballs” at 3x, I’m the one going with the lesser package every time. Assuming, that is, that functionality is the same. Given the choice between “basic” at 1x and “attractive” at 1.5x, however, that may be a different story — it just depends.

      Of course, this may all be because I’m not Scrooge-McDuck-rich. If I was, I might not care.

      “$7k for a pair of NOS Western Electric 300b tubes? Ah, who cares! Get 5 pairs!” <– I'm not that guy. Unfortunately. Because, lets be honest, I'd be an awesome rich guy.

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